Retirement age for private sector needs to be more broadly discussed – UNP

Wajira Abeywardena

The Government’s move to increase the retirement age needs to be broadly discussed, the United National Party (UNP) said yesterday, while clarifying that the party was not against the idea.

“We as the UNP are not against the present Government’s move to change the age of retirement for private sector personnel 60 years, however, the wishes of private sector employees who have been waiting to use the funds they have collected in their EPF accounts and those who do not wish to continue due to health concerns need to be taken in to account,” UNP member and former Minister for State Administration Wajira Abeywardena pointed out.

Abeywardene argued that given the changing nature of the economic landscape and the lack of adequate counter measures in the 2021 Budget to soften the impact on the public, private sector employees, related trade union and professional bodies should be watchful about such moves that affect retirement and benefits.

He noted that it was the UNP government that amended the retirement age for public sector employees from 55 to 60.

Abeywardena, the then Minister for State Administration (2001), said that in many foreign countries private sector employees were allowed to work based on their health and wellbeing, a practice which allows many experienced and skilled individuals to contribute more to their respective countries.

“Many persons who hold high offices in the private sector are already over the retirement age,” Abeywardena said, adding that the views of private sector employees and their trade unions should also be sought so as to bring in a retirement process which offers flexibility to those who have already contributed much to the economy.

(Source: Daily FT – By Asiri Fernando)